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NIIC Fast Facts


WHEN WAS THE NIIC ESTABLISHED?

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The NIIC was founded as a nonprofit organization in December 1999. Temporary offices were established at the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce in October 2000. In August of 2001, The NIIC’s first campus at the Raytheon Building on Production Road became fully operational.

WHO FOUNDED THE NIIC?

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The NIIC was formed through a collaboration of the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne (IPFW).

HOW DID THE NIIC GET STARTED AS AN ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY?

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In the early 1990s, The NIIC’s founding Board Chair, Dr. Mike Mirro, commissioned several task forces to examine community-based economic development strategies for Northeast Indiana and the Greater Ft. Wayne Area.

 

After many years of examining what other successful communities across the U.S. were doing to diversify their economic base, leverage their local assets and retain their talented and creative class, two significant economic development recommendations were made.

 

The first recommendation was the formation of the Ft. Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance to serve as the community’s front door for retention and expansion activities. The legal entity was formed in August 1999.

 

The second recommendation was the formation of a business incubator to foster an entrepreneurial culture and spirit in the region. The legal entity of the non-profit organization was formed in December 1999 and was named the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC).

 

The initial founding members of The NIIC were: City of Ft. Wayne, Allen County, Greater Ft. Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and IPFW. In October 2000, the hard work and the dedication of the task force was realized by the recruitment and hiring of the first professional staff member of The NIIC. From October 2000 to August 2001, The NIIC was housed in the Greater Ft. Wayne Chamber of Commerce until a temporary incubator was established and opened in August 2001 on Production Road in Ft. Wayne due to the generosity and leadership of Raytheon Corporation.

 

From October 2000 to August 2001, The NIIC was housed in the Greater Ft. Wayne Chamber of Commerce until a temporary incubator was established and opened in August 2001 on Production Road in Ft. Wayne thanks to the generosity and leadership of Raytheon Corporation.

 

From August 2001 to September 2005, there were five space expansions to accommodate the growth, development, and maturation of the business incubation program. Due to the leadership of Senator Bob Meeks and the Northeast Indiana delegation, The NIIC constructed the first of two facilities on its 55-acre certified technology park campus.

 

The first facility, a 40,403 square feet business incubator opened in September 2005, and in November 2009, a second 33,000 square feet emerging growth center opened for second stage and graduate ventures.

 

Today, nearly 200 knowledge workers and over 45 companies call The NIIC their home and headquarters along the educational and high tech corridor of Northeast Indiana.

IS THE NIIC OWNED AND OPERATED BY PURDUE FORT WAYNE?

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Unlike nearly one-third of all innovation centers across the country that are wholly-owned and operated by a university or community college, The NIIC is an independent, community-based, non-profit entrepreneurial resource center.

 

Purdue Ft. Wayne was one of the initial founding organizations of the NIIC when it was established and formalized in December 1999. The NIIC enjoys a special relationship with Purdue Ft. Wayne in our governance, location proximity, and in the ownership and ground leasing of our 55 acre campus. Moreover, Purdue Ft. Wayne is one of many educational institutions, regionally and globally, The NIIC collaborates with on entrepreneurial education and programming.

WHAT MAKES THE NIIC A VIBRANT AND UNIQUE ENTREPRENEURIAL

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Four things make The NIIC unique and a special place.

The NIIC…

  • accelerates the business growth and likelihood of success of innovative companies and organizations through the delivery of comprehensive, high-quality programs and services from pre-company (idea) through scalable growth.
  • is a growth engine with a proven track record of producing jobs, companies, innovations, products, payroll, and investment.
  • is the largest start-up community under one roof in our region. If we took the employment of all the companies working on the NIIC campus, The NIIC campus would be one of the top 100 employers in Allen County.
  • is an advocate and champion of the entrepreneur and business builder having spawned its own for-profit companies. Additionally, the NIIC often, but not always, comes alongside its business builders by investing its own capital and management capabilities in them.

How does The NIIC charge for its programs services?

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The NIIC (up to 2 hours per year) and WEOC (up to 5 hours per year but must meet eligibility requirements) of FREE coaching and advisory services is provided to every new venture in our service area including a complimentary free initial consultation and business readiness assessment regarding you and your team and your business concept or venture.

After your complimentary services are used, you will be invited to become a paying client of the NIIC. We have a wide variety of programs available depending on your level of commitment, your budget and your venture’s stage of development. Our programs are very reasonably priced and affordable. Fees vary by program but typically start at a minimum of $300 a month.

What types of businesses and organizations does The NIIC work with on its Campus?

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The NIIC works with companies and organizations of all sizes from the pre-company (I have an idea!), to the pre-revenue (I am working my business full-time) to the very largest organizations in our community (both non-profit and for profit) who are looking to leverage innovation and entrepreneurship to create new products,  enter new markets or to get their employees to think differently and more innovatively.

You are never too early to talk to a NIIC business coach about where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. The NIIC and WEOC team can coach and advise you in any industry, technology and in any stage of business. The NIIC equips and connects business builders with the 4 success pillars (https://theniic.org/start/startup-resources/) needed to build a successful business – capital, talent, workspaces and networks.

Does The NIIC offer tours?

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Over 5,500 guest and visitors take advantage of our Campus conference center and entrepreneurship services each year. Tours (can be accomplished in 30 to 60 minutes) are arranged when it is convenient for your schedule. Please call  one of our business concierge’s at 260-407-6442 and, depending on your interests, schedule an informational meeting with a business coach, conduct a needs assessment and/or take a tour. These initial discussions are always complimentary.

First Visit


WHAT SHOULD I DO IN PREPARATION FOR MY FIRST VISIT WITH A NIIC/WEOC BUSINESS COACH?

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There is nothing special you need to do in preparation for your first visit. It would be helpful for us to learn about you and your business concept, and what you have done to move your idea forward. You are never too early to talk to us and you don’t have to have all the answers before talking to us. We will work with you side by side on your entrepreneurial journey.

Please plan on sharing the following types of information in the initial meeting:

  • Who is on your team (and their background)?
  • What is your idea or business venture, and why do you think you people or businesses need your product?
  • What service providers are you working with (accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers)?
  • How have you advanced your idea or business? How long have you been working on this idea? (Have you filed a provisional patent? Have you spoken to customers? Have you sold any products/services to paying customers? Have you made a prototype or beta version of the software?), and
  • What your dreams (goals) are, and what you believe your needs are in the next 12 months for your business venture?  (Do you need capital? Do you need a development partner? Do you want to hire employees? Do you plan to moonlight or quit your job?)

I have a patent so my idea is valuable, right? Can you help me sell my patent?

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Just because you have a patent, it doesn’t mean you have something of value. In fact, over 97% of all patents never earn a dime.

The NIIC is not a business broker and does not assist individuals or inventors in selling or brokering their intellectual property. The NIIC is focused on providing smart “business building support resources” to create and grow high-quality jobs and “homegrown” companies in our community. If you are interested in starting or growing a company, The NIIC is here to support you in your entrepreneurial journey.

Do I need a business plan to work with the NIIC? What is the difference between a business plan and a business model canvas?

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Not necessarily. The NIIC believes one of the only times a start-up venture needs a business plan is if you are raising external early stage investment, or if your venture is looking to obtain financing from a financial institution or from the U.S. SBA. The business plan is a roadmap of how you plan to execute on your market opportunities, and how your venture will achieve its goals.

The NIIC does believe every start-up venture needs to think through the 9 building blocks of a business model/lean canvas. The business model/lean canvas is a framework for how your venture will create and capture value in the marketplace.

We suggest you do the following:

1.) Create a free account here:

https://leanstack.com/lean-canvas/

2.) use the 20 min video and stop and pause and complete each of the building blocks of the lean canvas (Be sure to complete a canvas for each unique customer segment).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o8uYdUaFR4

Read or review the following articles to stimulate your thinking around your business model:

3.) Complete your first canvas and schedule a visit with a NIIC/WEOC business coach to get feedback and guidance on your next steps.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MENTOR AND A BUSINESS COACH?

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Most ventures need mentorship and active business coaching to be successful. The NIIC facilitates and offers both types of support resources to its clients. However, it is important to distinguish between the role each plays in a venture’s success.

A mentor is a trusted advisor who brings expertise and acumen to the business relationship. The mentor may also guide and support less experienced founders/owners through the business building process. Typically, this role starts out as voluntary and unpaid; however, sometimes a mentor can transition to become a paid company advisor, an employee of the venture or might become an angel investor in the venture. A business coach, on the other hand, is someone who encourages the person being coached to own his or her outcomes. Additionally, the business coach does not do the work of the person being coached but encourages and pushes him/her to lean into problems and opportunities (accountability partner) to improve his/her performance and the venture’s success.

I want to talk to a business coach, do I need an Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

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The NIIC is not in the business of stealing your idea. Likewise, The NIIC has never litigated a non-disclosure agreement since it became a legal entity. Effective September 1, 2018, The NIIC no longer signs NDA’s as part of a client’s initial consultation with our business coaches.

Please read the following article https://www.wework.com/creator/personal-profiles/will-i-really-steal-your-idea-nda/ for additional insights into why an NDA is unnecessary and potentially counterproductive to receiving good advice.

The NIIC also suggests keeping in mind the following:

  • Don’t disclose anything proprietary or anything you are uncomfortable with in the meeting with us.
  • Your idea is 1% of your success, execution is 99%. Less than 3% of all patents make money so the secret sauce is not really the idea but how you refine and execute.
  • If you can’t share information about the market/customer opportunity or pain or problem you product/service/solution solves, our programs may not be right for you.
  • Consult your attorney on how best to proceed with your idea.

Programs & Services


WHAT IS ENTREPRENEURIAL EDUCATION?

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The NIIC offers an experientially-based Student Venture Lab program and Discovering Entrepreneurship Workshop to inspire young adults in learning entrepreneurial mindsets and soft skill development.

 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Opportunity recognition
  • Mobilizing resources
  • Starting a business
  • Discovering your consumer market
  • Constructing a viable business model
  • Facing and overcoming adversity

DOES THE NIIC WORK WITH EXISTING BUSINESSES?

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Of course. The NIIC will work with existing businesses that have recognized the need for the development of entrepreneurial endeavors, growth imperatives, and innovation initiatives within their organizations.

 

We also work to enhance the creative and innovative potential of individuals, companies and their environments through entrepreneurial/business development/corporate innovation for faster-growing companies.

Is there access to the building after business hours?

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Residential clients have controlled access 24x7x365 to the buildings and their suite by key fob and key. As part of our commitment to environmental sustainability, our building are heated and cooled during normal business hours.  Guests are not permitted in the buildings, unless escorted by NIIC staff or the residential client they are visiting, after hours. The NIIC is a secure facility protecting our clients and their business assets. We utilize internal and external security cameras, an access control system, and our campus is regularly patrolled by the Purdue Ft. Wayne Police Department.

How can I book a conference room or take advantage of your conference center?

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The NIIC has an array of conference rooms available for both its residential clients to use and for guests who might want to host a meeting, workshop, strategic retreat or employee meeting. Our Conference Center Manager is Tammy Sipe  (tsipe@niic.net), and she can walk you through all the ways you and your team can benefit from using our conference center. Our conference center receives consistently high marks from guest surveys for its friendliness, convenience and personalized service delivered to our guests while on our Campus.

We offer a variety of creative spaces with highly functional and ergonomic furnishings, integrated audio visual and internet options, onsite catering and food service along with free surface parking.  To see our various venue options, please click here: https://theniic.org/about/conference-center/. Our resident clients can conveniently book public conference rooms via an internal online scheduling system.

Client Selection & Admission


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A CLIENT OF THE NIIC?

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You are among the smart and confident entrepreneurs who know how to capitalize on every opportunity. Being part of The NIIC is being a part of an entrepreneurial community who is interested and supportive of your ups and downs.

 

Common traits of our clients include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Possess a great idea with strong commercialization potential
  • Driven to attain entrepreneurial excellence
  • Have a support group of outside advisors – preferably with previous entrepreneurial experience
  • Willingness to seek and act on professional advice and guidance
  • A high potential for sustained job creation and area economic development
  • Knowledge-oriented business plan

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A CLIENT OF THE NIIC?

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Our residents shared the following benefits of their experience with us:

  • Faster ramp-up to launch of your business
  • A stronger, more credible viable business model with customer validation
  • More likelihood of venture access to capital due to our credibility and track record
  • Ability to work closely with seasoned and experienced entrepreneurial coaches interested only in you and your venture. We are an adjunct to your management team.
  • Entrepreneurs appreciate most about us that we work at the speed of business – your efforts will be intensive, focused and lead to high levels of accountability and results
  • To be nestled into a community of likeminded entrepreneurial believers and business builders changing the world. The NIIC houses the largest number of startups in Northeast Indiana

 

To learn more about the benefits of The NIIC, check out the four pillars of entrepreneurial success here.

WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS?

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The NIIC works with interested and motivated business builders, founders and their teams from various profit and nonprofit sectors. It’s only The NIIC’s business incubation program that has admission criteria. Within our certified tech park, The NIIC works with companies in the twelve areas of high tech activities defined by Indiana State Statute.

 

These areas of innovation include, but are not limited to:

  1. DATA COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND ADVANCED COMPUTING. All activities related to the design and development of computer hardware and software.
  2. BIOSCIENCES, BIOTECHNOLOGY, LIFE SCIENCES, AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. Activities that utilize living organisms or substances from living things to develop or modify a product, improve plants or animals or developing microorganisms for useful products, medical devices and instruments. Biotechnology does not include human cloning or embryonic stem cell research.
  3. MEDICAL DEVICE TECHNOLOGY. All activities that include medical equipment technology or products, excluding pharmaceuticals, that have therapeutic and/or diagnostic value and are subject to regulation.
  4. ADVANCED MATERIALS. Utilizing materials with engineered properties based on specialized processes and synthesized technology.
  5. ELECTRONIC DEVICE TECHNOLOGY. Includes technology involving microelectronics, semiconductors or electronic equipment, such as, instrumentation, radio frequency, microwave and millimeter electronics. Also includes optical and optic-electrical devices and data and digital communications and imaging devices.
  6. ENGINEERING OR LABORATORY TESTING. Relating to the development of an advanced manufacturing product, technology or process.
  7. TECHNOLOGY THAT ASSISTS IN THE ASSESSMENT AND PREVENTION OF THREATS OR DAMAGE TO HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT. All activities that include environmental cleanup technology, pollution prevention or the development of alternative energy sources.
  8. PROTOTYPING, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF ADVANCED MANUFACTURING PRODUCTS.
  9. ADVANCED VEHICLES TECHNOLOGY. All activities that include technology and components related to electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles.
  10. APPLICATIONS. Web, mobile, gaming, web communities, ecommerce, social networks, cloud computing and more.
  11. ORTHOPEDICS. Implants, instruments, services, medical regulatory compliance services and medical information technology.
  12. GREEN TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES. Including environmental technologies and services.

 

If your idea doesn’t pertain to the sectors listed, The NIIC offers other entrepreneurial programs and services to address business support and commercialization assistance.

WHAT IF MY COMPANY IS NOT IN ONE OF THE NIIC’S FOCUSED INDUSTRIES OR HIGH-TECH SECTORS?

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Our affiliate programs make entrepreneurial and business venture training, coaching and education available to a wide range of industries on a non-resident basis. The NIIC has a broad network of other business development and support resources to which aspiring companies can be referred.

 

Our knowledge of and close working relationships with business resources and other developmental organizations, as well as our close ties to the region’s educational community, make The NIIC a one stop shop for new venture resources, capital access, and business best practices, whatever your industry, interests, or stage of development.

WHAT ARE THE ADMISSIONS CRITERIA FOR THE BUSINESS INCUBATION PROGRAM?

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  1. COACHABILITY. Self-aware and willing to ask, and receive, help from The NIIC’s trusted advisors and attend our training and workshop seminars.
  2. NEED FOR SPECIFIC SERVICES WE OFFER. You should have a need in at least one of the four entrepreneurial success pillars, and/or have successfully completed our affiliate program with a validated business model.
  3. IMPACT ON THE BROADER COMMUNITY ECOSYSTEM. Synergy, likely collaboration with other clients and integration to broader ED strategies for the community at large.
  4. LIKELY TO CREATE JOBS OVER NEXT 18-36 MONTHS. Entry-level, at or above an average of $40,000 per job during your residency at The NIIC.
  5. STRENGTH OF TEAM. Must have at least one full-time employee committed to your venture who has previous startup experience and domain expertise.
  6. POSITIVE/NEUTRAL CASH FLOW. Founders can self-fund their business venture for a minimum of three-to-six months of a burn rate.

 

Additional business case support:

  • Defensible IP (strategy and claims)
  • Competitive/unfair advantages
  • Attractive industry structure and dynamics (e.g., market size, growth rates and price attractiveness)
  • Clear plan for solving pain problems in the marketplace
  • Strength of collaborations/partnerships (e.g., co-development agreements, sales/channel agreements, etc.)

WHAT OTHER BUSINESSES ARE PERMITTED IN THE BUSINESS INCUBATION PROGRAM?

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Typically, The NIIC allows 15% of its total gross square footage to synergistic activities. These include strategic partnerships and alliances with educational institutions and service providers who provide services directly beneficial to our client mix (legal, financial, marketing, banking etc.). In addition, The NIIC offers professional office space and amenities at its Innovation Village @ College Park.

WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE NOT PERMITTED AT THE NIIC?

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Heavy manufacturing and loud noise businesses are not permitted. The NIIC suggests separating research and development and head office when it’s clear that the production activities leading from R&D efforts involve more than pre-production units.

Your website says you work with entrepreneurs. How would you define an entrepreneur?

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An entrepreneur is a business builder who:

  • Pursues a market/business opportunity other people want or need (solves their pain or problem)
  • Creates and captures value (potential customers willing to pay and a business model that makes money) in the marketplace; and
  • Manages risks and uncertainties.

Business builders can be found in start-up companies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, governmental entities and more established and mature companies and organizations. If the above description fits who you are or what you aspire to be, please reach out to us to schedule an appointment with a business coach to discuss your idea or company and also to take a tour.

Office Leasing Services


DOES THE NIIC TAKE A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR REVENUE AS PART OF THE SERVICES IT OFFERS TO CLIENTS?

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The NIIC does not take a percentage of revenue, royalty fee, own your Intellectual Property (IP), or take an equity position in exchange for the services (space, coaching, commercialization services) it offers and provides as part of its client program fee.

 

If The NIIC becomes a financial investor in your company, it will negotiate a term sheet or deal structure that might include a revenue share, a priced equity agreement or a debt instrument (potentially with collateral or asset assignments) as part of its cash infusion in the company in a similar fashion to an angel or early stage investor.

DOES A CLIENT COMPANY GIVE UP EQUITY OR OWNERSHIP OF THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TO ENTER THE NIIC?

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Unlike most university and for-profit business incubation and acceleration programs, The NIIC does not take equity or any ownership interest in your patents. If The NIIC invests in your company through its LEAP Fund, The NIIC does enter into priced equity, convertible debenture and revenue participation agreements in exchange for a cash investment.

HOW MUCH SPACE IS AVAILABLE FOR MY BUSINESS?

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The NIIC has flexible space to meet the demands of one-person businesses and 80-person businesses. Clients can scale from a single-person office of 120 sq. ft. up to over 10,000 of contiguous square footage in our Emerging Growth Center.

 

Additionally, The NIIC has a 55- acre campus and can custom build to suit appropriate state-of-the-art workplaces for innovative and knowledge-based companies.

WHAT IS THE PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT FOR OFFICE SPACE?

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Because The NIIC lease arrangements are “packages,” including many shared services, programs and amenities beyond simple office space, The NIIC does not define leases in terms of square footage rates.

 

The Emerging Growth Center charges market rates for square footage based on lease term, build-outs/leasehold improvements and other tenant-specific requirements for the space.

 

All other facility space charges an all-inclusive program fee based on size of office and term of use.

DOES THE RENTAL PRICE INCLUDE UTILITIES?

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Yes, The NIIC lease covers utilities — water, electricity, gas, and sewage disposal — so long as clients don’t misuse their privilege.

 

If a client has demonstrable, independent need of additional utility services beyond those provided by The NIIC, arrangements will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, with installation and service charges being the responsibility of the client in most cases.

CAN A CLIENT STAY AT THE NIIC AS LONG AS THEY PAY PROGRAM FEES?

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Typically, clients stay in the business incubation program for an average of four-to-five years. However, if the client is in a highly regulatory, capital intensive or require substantial third party investments, clients in good standing may stay until they achieve a sustainable cash flow and meet the requirement of being financially viable and freestanding where the risk of returning to the business incubation program is remote.

 

Clients engaged in other NIIC campus entrepreneurial programs- Emerging Growth Center, affiliate coaching, accelerator, coworking flex spaces, and build to suit offices engage in more traditional building leases. These clients do not have to be resident clients of the business incubation program to apply for these other entrepreneurial programs.

UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU TERMINATE THE PROGRAM SERVICE FEE ARRANGEMENT?

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The NIIC program service fee agreements are non-terminable leases. Longer lease terms provide lower fee options. Clients should select carefully based on their circumstances, and The NIIC offers a variety of options to fit every entrepreneur and their budget.

 

  • In the business incubation program, The NIIC offers one and two-year program service fee arrangements.
  • In the flex-space membership program options, prospective clients have a six-month and one-year option.
  • In the Emerging Growth Center, prospective clients have a three to ten-year lease option with renewables. Additional, financial and corporate guarantees might be required.
  • In the Innovation Village @ College Park, prospective clients have a one-year with renewable one-year terms.

CAN MY LEASE RATE GO DOWN IF I SUPPLY MY OWN FURNITURE?

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Clients may provide their own furniture or use furniture supplied by The NIIC. If an office is furnished, the cost of reconfiguration, additional furniture or office layout changes will be charged to the client. The office suites are furnished as is, and there are no lease rate reductions for lack of office furniture in a suite.

Do I pay for utilities such as gas, electric, water, telephone and internet?

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Utilities (gas, electric, water and trash disposal) are included in your general program services fee agreements in the Innovation Center and Emerging Growth Center buildings. If you are a heavier than normal consumer of gas, electric, water, you may be surcharged or separately metered. If applicable, this additional charge will be disclosed prior to execution of an agreement.

Basic telephone (including one phone per authorized person in your program services agreement) and basic internet services are included in your general program services fee agreements in the NIIC building. Enhanced telephone and higher internet bandwidth and speeds are available for an additional cost. Wireless internet is offered in common areas and subject to our Acceptable Use Policy.

Telephone equipment and related services and internet services are not included in Emerging Growth Center Leases and must be procured separately. The NIIC can offer some suggestions on potential vendors/providers.

Are offices furnished?

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Almost all of the offices and labs in the main Innovation Center building are furnished and sized for 1-7 people. With expandable interior doors, you can easily add on space to expand your office footprint to 14 or 20 people without ever changing your business address.  One of the unique NIIC advantages is because we offer a turnkey solution, we are your telephone company, internet company, business services provider (copy center, mailroom, onsite wellness center, shipping & receiving etc.) and furniture company along with being your trusted advisor to start and grow your company, we can have you up and running in less than 4 hours from the time you execute a signed program services agreement.  The main Innovation Center building and our programs are designed to lower your start-up costs, mitigate early risks in the successful launch of your company and support growing your company faster and stronger than you might accomplish on your own.

In our larger Emerging Growth Center, some offices are furnished and others are not. Office suites in this building resemble more of a traditional leasing solution but offer access to important amenities of a campus environment that support attraction and retention of your most important asset – your people.

What’s the minimum service agreement?

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The NIIC offers a variety of flexible options to make growth easy and possible. The NIIC offers service agreements as fast as 3 months in its Affiliate Coaching Program, and coworking members have the flexibility of a six or twelve month membership agreement. Typically, startup companies in our business incubation and acceleration program execute a one or two year agreement, and more established companies occupying space in the Emerging Growth Center will execute a 3 to 10 year traditional lease agreement depending on their needs and leasehold improvements. Some agreements allow lease breakage for moving into additional space on the campus.

Community Resources & Partners


HOW DOES THE NIIC DIFFER FROM OTHER RESOURCES WE ALREADY HAVE IN THE REGION SUCH AS, THE SBDC AND SCORE?

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The NIIC is designed to meet the need, for higher-level, complex needs, including product development, marketing, gap financing, research and entrepreneurial strategy, through the vehicles of entrepreneurship education, experiential learning/growth and consulting.

While many business incubators are direct programs of specific colleges and universities, The NIIC has affiliations and cooperative relationships with almost every educational facility in Northeast Indiana, including:

  • Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW, and one of The NIIC’s founding organizations; the new IU School of Medicine Regional Campus is just west of The NIIC’s own campus)
  • Taylor University (whose MBA and online education program is housed in The NIIC)
  • Ivy Tech (whose 167,000 sq. ft. Technology Center is adjacent to The NIIC campus and offers 3D modeling, prototyping and CAD services)
  • Huntington University (whose partners with the NIIC on its Fast Forward Entrepreneurial initiative)
  • University of Saint Francis
  • Southwest Allen County Schools, home school programs, parochial programs and many other city and county school districts throughout the region

The NIIC and other regional entrepreneurial resource partners refer clients to one another based on each organization’s core competencies and capabilities. It’s the intent of major entrepreneurial support providers to serve and meet the entrepreneur where we find him or her.

Community Impact


WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF THE NIIC?

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The NIIC is rocket fuel for great ideas, people and companies.

 

We are a catalyst for:

  • Fostering the commercialization of technology to create new jobs, companies and industries employing Indiana residents
  • Developing and retaining local, regional and statewide talent
  • Expanding experiential entrepreneurship education and achievement at 9th grade and above
  • Enhancing and expanding access to capital resources for business formation and new venture support

How does NIIC measure its client success?

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The NIIC’s primary client-focused metrics are: Total Park Employment, Average Park Wage Rate, Total Park Payroll, Total Investment Capital Raised, # of Patents Applied for or Issued and # of Products Launched.

Check out our fact sheet and impact/annual reports for The NIIC’s performance dashboard at: https://theniic.org/newsroom/downloads/

How does the NIIC measure its own success?

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The NIIC, as a highly effective non-profit organization, has three major quality objectives that are traceable through our quality system and measured by our commitment to excellence by achieving or exceeding the following priority goals:

  • Three year rolling EBITDA of $1 or more (This metric demonstrates our commitment to superior operating performance.)
  • Net Promoter Score of 50 or higher (This metric demonstrates our commitment to client engagement, loyalty and excellence.)
  • Earned income as % of total expenses greater than 50% (This metric demonstrates our commitment to undertaking activities that lead to self-sustainability.)

Why is the NIIC ISO9001-2015 Registered? Isn’t that just a designation for manufacturing companies?

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The NIIC is the only ISO9001:2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program in the United States. We have a documented quality system and recently successfully transitioned to ISO9001:2015 registration (we take metrics seriously, and we have a documented and comprehensive risk-based monitoring system governing our activities). The NIIC has been ISO registered for over 13 years. The NIIC adheres to strong processes and solid business practices through our evidenced-based entrepreneurial management system.

Why is The NIIC committed to inclusive and diverse entrepreneurship?

NIIC is one of approximately 112 federally designated Women Business Center’s in the United States and is chartered to serve 16 Indiana Counties. The NIIC is the host organization for an SBA Women’s Business Center focused specifically on the needs of women, immigrants (we have highest Burmese concentration in the US) and other underserved groups (Ft Wayne is 16% African-American) as they pursue business ventures.

How is The NIIC’s GuideStar Platinum Seal a commitment to transparency in its relationships with donors and stakeholders?

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The NIIC has obtained the highest level of transparency seal – Platinum – from GuideStar.org. In Indiana, only 104 non-profit organizations carry this highest level of designation.

To learn more about what the Platinum Seal of Transparency means, please click here: https://learn.guidestar.org/platinum

To see a full and comprehensive profile of the NIIC on GuideStar to learn about our programs, services, governance, progress and metrics, please click here: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/35-2097779

The NIIC has a board-appointed audit committee and also publishes three years of historical tax returns, audited financial statements, and impact statements on its website (www.theniic.org).

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